By THE BLUE AND GRAY PRESS EDITORIAL BOARD
On Jan 29, 2019 Jussie Smollett, star of the TV show “Empire”, filed a police report alleging he was assaulted with multiple hate crimes committed against Smollett. The alleged attack took place in downtown Chicago where two men dressed in black called racial and homophobic slurs, tied a noose around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance down his throat. Smollett was not seriously injured in the attack and was released from the hospital the next day.
According to Smollett, the alleged assault was not the first attack against him. A week before the attack, Smollett turned over a hate letter to the police that contained multiple death threats. Included in the letter were various homophobic slurs and death threats, as well as “MAGA”, President Trump’s campaign slogan. Smollett also claimed that the assaulters yelled “This is MAGA country” when the assault occurred.
The narrative of this attack changed on Feb 20 when Chicago police issued felony disorderly conduct charges against Smollett for filing a false police report. Two Nigerian brothers who worked as extras on “Empire” told police that Smollett hired them to stage an attack. Police released footage of the brothers purchasing supplies used for the attack. Along with that information, they provided the police with a copy of the $3,500 check Smollett bribed the brothers with. Chicago Police Superintendent Johnson denounced Smollett, “To stage a hate crime of that nature, when he knew as a celebrity it would get a lot of attention … is just despicable.”
If these allegations are true, the actions of Jussie Smollett are despicable. He attempted to use public outrage to further his career and make a name for himself. If it is found that this attack was staged, he may discredit real hate crimes and assaults across the nation, in turn hurting real victims who may lack support and trust due to this heinous crime. The Blue & Gray Press condemns the alleged actions of Jussie Smollett and urges the public to believe and support victims of hate crimes.